Valraven watches the day close over the fish market. All of his stone fish have sold to various wizards and alchemists that happened to be in the market that day. They were all very excited to see him and his wares. He didn't often come here to teach and to sell the results of his fishing expeditions. The days on the calendar that are good for fishing didn't come often. Rising from his chair, he gathered his imperial purple robes about him and set to leave the market for his next destination when a woman appeared, dressed in a coat made from a lion's pelt.
Valraven could sense that this was no ordinary sorceress, and pulling his straight thick black hair and tying it with a cord, he planted his feet, ready to adapt to the coming changes. The woman looked at him with amber eyes and pulled at the corner of her blouse beneath the lion's coat, revealing scales descending from her collar bone and into her cleavage.
"I have some questions for you, earthworker." The woman spoke.
Valraven knew that if he answered this being's questions wrong, it would not bode well for him.
Noiselessly, he motioned for her to continue.
"What use are the secret names of a celestial being?" She inquired.
"The names of celestial beings are what my fishing boat are made of. They are the boards that are held together with the languages of the intelligible realm. They are the source of all things."
"What is the worth of the act of interpreting the symbolic?"
"The interpretation of symbols leaves an impression on the unconsciousness, these images are what allow a sorcerer to find the truth of being. The symbols in the corporeal become images in the consciousness that in turn become archetypes in the unconsciousness. The interpretation of symbols is the language a sorcerer uses to speak to unconscious realm, they are the final ontology."
"What are the suffumigational correspondents to the Phoenix Bird?" She asked, her chest rising and her teeth baring as if she expected this to be the question he got wrong. Without blinking, Valraven replied:
"Frankincense and myrrh are the corresponding suffumigations."
"And what, earthworker, is the baser form of the Phoenix?"
"If you reduce the Phoenix from the upper realm to the middle, she takes the form of the bat, her job in the forest is to carry souls lost there into the shadows, to the entries of the underworld. In this world the Phoenix' wings are not made of flame, but of flesh."
"What are gods made of?" The being asked, her amber eyes now wide and alert for Valraven had succeeded in surprising her.
"Gods are made of nothing but their secret name." Came his reply, "And therefore, my fishing boat is made up of gods and spirits in their symbolic form."
The being smiled. Her grin was that of a serpent, toothless save for four large fangs. Reaching into her coat she pulled forth a quasi-geometrical object, its shape shifting between the mathematical and the chaotic.
"This is a 'yantra' earthworker. Accept it as a gift. It has had the breath of the divine infused into its being and if you are able to separate it into its component parts, that gift of animation will be yours. It is the intellect of Ra and the wisdom of the Buddha."
"What are the conditions of accepting this gift?" Valraven asked, wisely.
"If you accept the yantra and its quest, you will have to go into the forest and find the Phoenix in her earthly form. She will take you to the forest crypt and their you will learn the secret of eternal life, you will learn the formula for the waters of the fountain of youth.
This is the path of sigils, of reflection on images, sending them on their katabasis into the archetypal reality of the unconscious. The process of sigilmancy in the road of self-knowledge, of returning to the source through a descent into the tomb of history, memory, and the ancient collective mind to the first man and woman of the earth, the first magicians."
Valraven reached out his hand and the yantra wobbled from the beings grip into his. His vision became transfixed by its impossible material wandering between phases. When he was finally able to look away, the being in the lion's pelt coat was gone.